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Duty Free Depot / fraud and scam

1 United States Review updated:
Contact information:

Dear Mortimer,

I can certainly understand your frustration.

But, despite what you think and write about us, I can confirm to you that Dutyfreedepot is not a ripoff.
We are bound by customs international laws and cannot deviate from that path otherwise we wouldn't be able to operate!

Dutyfreedepot did not operate in full last year for technical reasons that had to do with Customs relocation.

I believe that during this time, a few customers did not receive their goods
and were ignored for the simple reason that even basic operations were placed on hold.

I urge you to contact me in person. We provide the most accomodating services and guarantee delivery
to your doorstep as soon as possible.

You are welcome to call us toll free as well: [protected]

My apologies if you were mistreated during our extensive move.

Thank you!

Saar Levin

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  • Db
      31st of Jan, 2009
    0 Votes

    I ordered 2 cartons from, received 1 so far (the other is pending) and am happy so far. The Davidoffs I ordered came in and my Dunhills are hopefully on the way.

    I was worried about seeing all the complaints online and when I placed my order it was really confusing. The company is listed @ St. Louis under BBB, my credit card statement said the charge was made in Switzerland and when my carton arrived, it was from Israel.

    Anyways, overall I'm happy with the purchase so far and will be completely satisfied when my other carton comes in.

  • Db
      15th of Feb, 2009
    0 Votes

    I'm the above poster.

    I received my second Dunhill carton last week.
    Overall, very happy with and Saar. Shipping is a little slow but expected with international shipping. I would definitely order again from dutyfreedepot!


  • Em
      23rd of Mar, 2009
    0 Votes

    i ordered a big order from this site. 18 cartons of l&m. 6 a month for 3 months, i recieved 2 cartons and 3 weeks later we got a letter from the post office stating that customs had seized 2 cartons and that i would have to pay £80 to receive them. As i didnt collect this order i emailed the company explaining what had happen. at the start i paid £360 and so far they have only repaid me £199 leaving that i have paid £160 for 2 cartons of cigatettes. i have tried contacting this company about 20 times explaining my problem and so far i have had no answer. i am very disappointed and consider this site to be a complete RIPOFF. my advice is dont buy from this site if your wise. i was caught out and its not a nice feeling when you have just paid £160 for 2 cartond of cigarettes.

  • Sa
      20th of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    Dear Mortimer,

    Your order was shipped in full (and left the country) on March 31st. Here is the tracking number: RY900026995IL.

    Please be advised that once you receive a letter from your local post office asking you to pay a fee - DON'T PAY!

    Reject the package. It will return to our warehouse and we will reship it. We cannot refund customers who decide, despite our recommendations, to pay the exaggerated fees that customs charge.

    We do, however, try to accomodate them by partially refunding their account and offering them discounts on future orders.

    Best Regards,

    Saar Levin
    Program Manager

  • Uk
      19th of Aug, 2009
    +2 Votes

    Now UK customs are ran by UK Border Agency and they never return any seized goods to the sender.
    DutyFreeDepot in Israel gets your money,
    UK customs get cigarettes you paid,
    You get NOTHING!
    Who is the looser?

  • Sh
      16th of Sep, 2009
    0 Votes
    DutyFreeDepot - Does not reply to emails


    So I ordered a box of Marlboro Lights to Switzerland. This dude, Saar Levin promised me that I won't have to pay import duties. I also mentioned to him that I am receiving it at a Business Location where irrespective of any preferences, the reception pays for my mail if it has duty and I have to reimburse them. So I land up paying 50 odd euros online for the order and another 89CHF as customs. What a rip off!

    Mr. Saars company actually declares the box as ciggerettes while mailing it from Israel. To add insult to injury, he even puts in this nice card inside which says " Duty Free Depot ".

    Yeah like the customs guys are uneducated dude!! This is Switzerland man, not some village in Israel where ppl trip on LSD.

    Im never ordering from a bunch of hippies again.

    N Saar, I sent you two emails, none of them to which you've responded! Neither have you had the courtesy to repond to my question on your forum.

    So if you would like to respond, don't ask me to email you again. Find my mails in your inbox and reply to them, or do so here with the world having to see what crap you gotta say!

    My order ID: 88570
    Date: 04/08/2009

  • Ja
      5th of Oct, 2009
    0 Votes

    Dear visitors on this site.

    I have ordered 2 times and both orders were correctly delivered, even within the 10 days delivery time. Therefore I don't have any complaints, just compliments. The right goods with a price at least 30% down compared to what I pay at my local store.

    Maybe an advice to some of you, don't order in too large amounts. 18 cartons must be quit a box! Maybe that woke up the guys from customs.

    Jan Meijer, Holland

  • Al
      3rd of Nov, 2009
    0 Votes

    I ordered 1 carton of Fortuna Cigs at 22.Oct.09 - yesterday they came in, so that were less than 2 weeks!
    Cigs taste great, thank you dutyfreedepot :-)

  • Ev
      15th of Nov, 2009
    -1 Votes

    I also saw all the negative comments when I ordered my cigarettes. I decided to order 1 pack of Benson and Hedges. They arrived and I was very pleased. Just ordered another carton. So far im really pleased with this service.


  • Sh
      18th of Dec, 2009
    +1 Votes

    I guess it helps to see that there is someone who does care about the reputation of this store, that says a little bit. But Saar, you or whoever it is that is doing it needs to stop with the bogus testimonials, this is a COMPLAINTS board and it is obvious that the praise is coming from employees (or an employee) of the store; just stop it! If you are serious about providing a quality service you don't need to do that. You've tried to respond to everyone's concerns and you have that going for you but don't throw it away. That said, and I don't know if this will be removed seeing as how this isn't quite this type of forum, I would be placing an order for Christmas if only I were able to get it sooner, as for cigarettes, I don't know, doubtful. I'm in the process of moving to a county with lower taxes anyway.

  • Tt
      20th of Dec, 2009
    -1 Votes

    I have read a lot of these complaints all of the internet. I ordered 2 cartons and then went on a trip across my state I got back yesterday to find a note from my post office in my mail box. I have a package waiting for me the tracking number is the proper on for the Israel postal service and also there is no charge listed in that area for customs. therefore I have no choice but to be satisfied that duty free depot is not a scam.

  • Br
      7th of Jan, 2010
    0 Votes

    I ordered a carton of Gitanes on Dec 21st. When the tracking number wasn't recognized by the US Postal service after two whole weeks, I began to think I'd been scammed and started looking into ways of getting my money back. But then this morning...THEY CAME. It took 17 days, which I think is very good from Israel to NY, and the price was absolutely excellent. Great service and I'll probably be ordering from you guys again! Thank you SO MUCH, this is going to be the best late Christmas present ever!

  • Sm
      9th of Jan, 2010
    0 Votes

    Look, if the Pact Act passes none of us will have any worries. We'll all be forced like cattle down a chute towards our local stores to pay high prices and high taxes for inferior products. Relax. Soon you'll never need to worry about cheap prices, slow delivery or anything else. Every pack you buy will be in person so your ID can be checked (tracked?) and your taxes collected. The enemy is NOT DutyFreeDepot or other sites. The real cancer here is the US government's designs on net neutrality, free commerce and free behavior. IMHO. Cheers.

  • Sc
      19th of Feb, 2010
    0 Votes

    I placed my order in the middle of October last year for 3 items. I received 1 item after about a month and then nothing up until now. I sent an email on Dec 5th regarding
    the other parts of my order and they didn't respond until Dec 25th!! They offered no explanation or reason for my order being missing and just said "your order has been shipped", the same message as was sent for the original order. It's been more than 30 "business days" since I received that message and I still haven't received the remaining parts of my order.

    I have a strong suspicion that the company uses an old tactic. They deliver everything perfectly and treat the customer well in the beginning, when the orders are small (My first order was only 1 item I think), and then when they've gained the customer's trust and he orders multiple items with a higher price tag the company just fails to provide the product and doesn't respond to emails.

    Another suspicious point, the price for my product changed both times I purchased it. I just checked a second ago and it has changed again, but lower this time. It's possible the system remembers you, assumes you think the price hasn't changed, and then charges a higher price than you just payed a month ago without you noticing.

    Something else that's interesting, while it might be true that the packages have to be split for customs reasons, it also allows the company to collect the payment before you realize anything is wrong. So even if you do call your credit card company to report fraud/abuse/not receiving full order, the money has already been payed out and can't be withheld/retrieved from the company.

    The website, email responses and the gentleman on this board all offer phone numbers to call (all of which are different) in case of a problem. Yet, I've attempted to call these numbers more than 10 different times and at differing times of the day and not once has anyone ever answered the phone! Many times an answering machine will pick up and the voice will be in a British accent but the number I called today had a message in Hebrew or Arabic!

    I really do think this company is a scam but they try to trick you into trusting them and spending more before they decide to rip you off.

    I hope I can get a response from this site because I sure haven't got one by emailing Saar Levin, if you are reading this message please look up my order, 303184 from 10/17/09, and find my email address and then email me personally explaining what has happened to my order and when I will receive it. If this doesn't occur, I will start posting complaints on every website I can find to hurt your company's reputation. After that, additional, more unfriendly steps, will be taken as a response to being ripped off.

    Thank you

    Scott J.

  • Vi
      3rd of Mar, 2010
    +1 Votes

    I have ordered Jameson 1780 12 Y.O. Whisky 1LT ($35.99+$15shipping). I love this whiskey and it is hard to find in a store in my town. I have received parcel. But instead of 1780 12 Y.O. Whisky 1LT in the parcel was a cheap Jameson Irish Whisky 1 LT ($18.99+$15shipping). This means I bought it
    for $ 50.99. But this whiskey is sold in every store in my town and is worth $35. Customer service ignored my complaint. I do not recommend buying in this store. You'll be disappointed.

  • Cd
      15th of Apr, 2010
    +1 Votes

    On 10/02/2010 I ordered carton of smokes order number 117151 for 15.99, a week later i am told the order was canceled. I get my credit card statement and it shows a charge of 15.99 on 10/02/2010. I asked Jane, Saar, and other Dutyfree depot associates if that order was indeed canceled and they sent me the cancellation number and assured me it was canceled. So I do what anyone would do, I called my credit card company and disputed the charge. I'll be damn I pay for something I didnt receive. Anyhow a couple days later Anita (another associate) calls my phone saying there was a misunderstanding and she would send out that order immediately as long as I cancel the dispute. So I say fine I call and cancel the dispute I end up getting my smokes and the charge of 17.59 was on my next statement for that particular order. I dont know why it went from 15.99 to 17.59 but anyhow i am not worried about it. Now a few weeks later I get e-mails from Jack, Saar, or the Site period saying they do not tolerate chargebacks blah blah blah and now I have a minus -1387 on my account, and getting hell like I did something wrong. Plus this isnt the first time dealing with problems on orders. Now I am getting all kinds of crap from Saar Levin, like i did something wrong. So for yall that read this, Do you think I was supposed to pay the charge even though I was told by 3 different Dutyfree depot employees that my order was indeed canceled??

  • We
      27th of Apr, 2010
    +1 Votes

    Don't listen to anything dutyfreedepot say, it is utter rubbish.

    They refuse to refund you when cigarettes are seized and customs DO NOT return these, they are destroyed and therefore use this as an excuse to never refund you.

    I am in the process of lodging a complaint of fraud with my card company. The more people that do this the less chance they have of ripping others off as the card companies will black list them.

    RIP OFF MERCHANTS Get on the phone to your card companies!

  • We
      27th of Apr, 2010
    +1 Votes

    Talk about a contradiction, lifted directly from their website:

    Are imported cigarettes subjected to duty taxes?
    No. Duty tax is not charged for buying and importing up to 200 cigarettes every 21 days (for Europe), and 1, 200 cigarettes every 21 days (for US). DutyFreeDepot ships each carton separately to its customers, i.e. if you ordered 5 cartons, your order will be shipped to you in 5 separate packages all sent in a few days´ interval and thus they will not arrive simultaneously.

    Does DutyFreeDepot guarantee that no duty tax will be paid worldwide?
    No. It is the customer's responsibility to verify and abide by all applicable laws concerning the delivery or taxation to their region. Some countries may occasionally change international postal regulations and standards.


    It is utter rubbish that you are permitted 200 cigarettes every 21 days. Customs in the UK can seize every packet and demand duty. As they did in my case. But as they get destroyed they are not returned. as they are not returned this bunch of conmen refuse to refund.

    So you pay for goods YOU DO NOT RECEIVE. This shower take no gamble what so ever, it is purely you that does. You will find NUMEROUS other online sales companies who guarantee delivery, use one of them and forget this lot. Yes there are some good stories above but ask yourself,

    WHY WOULD ANY HAPPY CUSTOMER LOOK FOR A COMPLAINTS PAGE RELATING TO THIS LOT AND THEN POST A POSITIVE COMMENT? It does not add up. If I was happy the last thing I would look to do is search the internet for a complaints page!?!?!/! These comments are most obviously fake.

  • Cd
      27th of Apr, 2010
    +1 Votes

    Exactly, the so called positive comments about this site on a complaints web page are all posted by an associate SAAR Levin of dutyfreedepot. I have seen many more of posts on other sites showing reviews of the dutyfreedepot and he will write in acting as a customer. Would a legit business man do that??? NO!!!

  • Da
      24th of May, 2010
    0 Votes

    I made an order from duty free depot for a bottle of alcohol and some tobacco 3 weeks later it has arrived on my doorstep in australia, have u ever thought it is your customs thats not letting it through because u have ordered to much. I have had no problem with them i was able to talk to them over the phone and discuss my order. Goin on about how a happy customer would write on a complaints board is when u google duty free depot it comes up on the search so we have a look and seeing all u ppl out there whining about how bad it is i just thought i'd let u know that it does work and im happy with the service and fast delivery

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